acronym antedated to 1940

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Dec 5 14:44:42 UTC 2010

At 12/5/2010 06:45 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>American Notes & Queries has it (p. 167) in Feb., 1943
>Confirmed on paper:
>Paris Gazette,
>Lion Feuchtwanger;  translated by Willa and  Edwin Muir
>xii, 860 p. 21 cm. New York, Viking Press, 1940.
>Chapter 47, Beasts of Prey, pages 665-666:
>His first glance at the _Paris German News_ told Wiesener that this
>new paper was nothing like the old _P.G._. "They can call it the
>_P.G.N._ if they like," he thought, "but that's the only difference.
>Pee-gee-emm; what's the word for words like  that, made out of
>initials? My memory is beginning to fail me. [p. 666] Just the other
>day there was a technical expression I couldn't remember. I must be
>growing old.
>"_P.G._ or _P.G.N._, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other....
>"Pee-gee-emm. It's an acronym, that's what it is. That's what they
>call words made up of initials. So i remember it after all; that's
>at least something....

But Wiesener's memory is deceiving him.  Wasn't I just informed that
such are not acronyms, but initialisms?

And if "that's what they call" such "words" (another error?), then
there is hope of finding an even earlier instance!


>Stephen Goranson
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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